Previewing the Pascrell-Rothman Primary in New Jersey
Both Pascrell and Rothman have rolled out endorsements in the other's territory in the past week toward a similar end. But both campaigns are also keeping focused closer at home, to drive turnout in their strongest areas. Pascrell's camp has been particularly focused on Paterson, his hometown in Passaic County, while Rothman has the Bergen County machine on his side in that section of the district. Again, that follows the pattern run by the winning campaigns in Illinois and Pennsylvania. In Critz's Pennsylvania 12th District win, he boosted turnout in his section of the seat to over 31 percent of Democratic primary voters, even though that section of the district had less than a quarter of registered Democrats in the district. Neither Pascrell nor Rothman has quite the get-out-the-vote manpower that Critz -- with his vociferous union backing -- had at his disposal. But both campaigns have teams of volunteers canvassing their strongest neighborhoods to maximize the number of friendly voters who turn out on June 5. That's one reason why Bill Clinton's endorsement of Pascrell may carry more weight than Obama's tacit support for Rothman. While Obama held a photo opportunity with Rothman at the White House last Friday, Clinton actually headlined a get-out-the-vote rally for Pascrell and fired up his supporters in Paterson. Member-versus-member primaries have been regional affairs this far, and there is no reason to expect that to change Tuesday night. The winner will consolidate his geographic base more than the other, and the loser will be left wondering what might have been if turnout operations had been better.